Pierre de Fermat

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File:Pierre de Fermat.jpg
Pierre de Fermat

Pierre de Fermat (August 17, 1601January 12, 1665) was a French lawyer at the Parlement of Toulouse, southern France, and a mathematician who is given credit for the development of modern calculus. In particular, he is the precursor of differential calculus with his method of finding the greatest and the smallest ordinates of curved lines, analogous to that of the then unknown differential calculus. Perhaps even more important, his brilliant researches in the theory of numbers entitle him to the rank of the founder of the modern theory. He also made notable contributions to analytic geometry and probability.

Fermat worked on number theory while preparing an edition of Diophantus, and the notes and comments thereon contained the numerous theorems of considerable elegance necessary to develop the theory of numbers. Fermat is famous for his "Enigma" that was an extension of Pythagorean Theorem, also known as Fermat's last theorem, which baffled mathematicians for more than 300 years, and was only finally proven in 1994. Together with René Descartes, Fermat was one of the two leading mathematicians of the first half of the 17th century. Independently of Descartes, he discovered the fundamental principle of analytic geometry. Through his correspondence with Blaise Pascal, he was a co-founder of the theory of probability.

File:Fermat's will.jpg
Holographic will handwritten by Pierre de Fermat on March 4, 1660 - Kept at the Departmental Archives of Haute-Garonne, in Toulouse
File:Tour fermat.jpg
House in Beaumont-de-Lomagne where Fermat was born; now Fermat Museum
File:Fermat statue.jpg
Statue of Fermat, in Beaumont-de-Lomagne

Fermat was born at Beaumont-de-Lomagne, 58 kilometers (36 miles) north-west of Toulouse, France. He died at Castres, 79 kilometers (49 miles) east of Toulouse. The oldest and most prestigious high-school in Toulouse is called Pierre de Fermat. This high-school has preparatory classes for engineering and business schools (grandes écoles), and is ranked in the top 10 of France's best preparatory classes. The late 15th century mansion where Fermat was born in Beaumont-de-Lomagne is now a museum.

See also

Bibliography

  • Singh, Simon (2002). Fermats Last Theorem, Fourth Estate Ltd. ISBN 1841157910.

External links

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